“Cold and cloudy, rained hard during the night. It is lighting up at noon. Think the storm has passed. Agnes has taken the three children [my mother Janet, her sister Lydia, and her brother Francis] in the auto to Sunday School. Quite a chore for her to get them washed, dressed & ready & home again. It needs perseverance – am glad she has got it. Should be glad to help her but have been miserable lately. The apple trees are out in full bloom. Daisies are budded, blue violets all out…” – Lydia Jane Hall, May 1, 1924

Whirlwind Hill Violets

Violets may be starting to bloom in Wallingford now. To me they seem the most old-fashioned of flowers. Near the old barn site on my parents’ property the violets still grow in profusion, and I pick a bunch and put them in the middle of the kitchen table when I’m there.

My great-grandmother Lydia’s cousin, Mary E. Hart, painted watercolors and oils of scenery and flowers. (I’ll return to Mary Hart in more detail in the future.) The violets in this painting by her lie gracefully tied in a loose bouquet. Maybe they were a gift or maybe just an arranged still life. But they seem to me as fresh as they must have been all those years ago when she put her brush to the paper.

"Violets," Mary E. Hart, watercolor, ca. 1860

“Violets,” Mary E. Hart, watercolor, ca. 1860

On Monday:  A Window on the Landing

16 thoughts on “Violets

  1. Margaret Campion

    CCB, were Lydia’s miseries mostly joint/arthritis-related? I am most impressed with her largely positive attitude … commenting on the flowers in bloom while feeling truly incapacitated. We know she speaks of family, enjoys having her girls with her. In addition to family, what were the joys in her life, do you know?

    1. Carol Post author

      HI Margy. I think her troubles were related to what the Halls called “the rheumatis.” I will be getting more into her life’s joys and sorrows as I go along. But I do think she had many joys, but probably didn’t complain much about her miseries except in her journal. My mother remembers her as a very patient woman.

  2. Michael Foster

    Those flowers are striking! Mary had a good eye for composition and control of color. I, too, love violets and they always bring a smile to my face. There are intriguing hints of things in this entry: “autos” are new enough in the writer’s experience to deserve mention; children could be as rambunctious and demanding then as now; something leaves Lydia miserable and unable to be fully a part of her life. Thanks for sharing these glimpses.

    1. Carol Post author

      Hi Carol. As I said above to Margy, Lydia had arthritis or “the rheumatis,” as they called it. Not helped much by living in a house with many stairs and cold rooms in winter.

  3. Patti Hall Burkett

    I have very few memories of Grandpa Hall (Ellsworth). I don’t really remember him ever speaking. I think he wore overalls, he took naps after lunch on a daybed in the dining room, he brought burlap bags of corn to the screen porch for us to shuck, he left his partially smoked cigar with the chewed up end on the ledge on the screen porch, and I’ve been told he liked to watch big time wrestling. The one clear memory I have of him is that he always brought Grammie a bouquet of violets when they bloomed in the yard and around the barn, which always seemed so very sweet to me!

    1. Carol Post author

      He did love to bring flowers in to Gramie. Sweet, sweet man. And our grandmother was so modern in a way. I’ll have a whole post about her later on. She loved to drive.

      1. Edith Hall Seyler

        “Uncle Ellsworth” had the most kind, big blue eyes! I loved looking at them as he spoke-always so kind!! my father [Kirtland} really admired Ellsworth -and I do remember the cigar he chewed on!!

  4. Judy Rosen

    Hi Carol, I’m really enjoying your blog. I read every posting and admire how you’re putting it all together.
    Integrating past and present plus photos, journal entries and your lovely drawings. Your ancestors are
    rich in talent and so are you! My violets are blooming now, and I appreciate them even more after reading your blog today. Congratulations again and thank you for sharing your special space and special story. Judy

  5. netzy

    Hi Carol, beautiful painting by your sweet grandmother. You are so correct, they look so fresh and just picked. Your real ones look so inviting on the kitchen table. I wish I had some growing here too.

  6. Pingback: Violets – An Addendum | On Whirlwind Hill

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